What do we mean by colour temperature in video production ?

By October 29, 2015Blog
What is colour temperature and why is it important for video productions

As you embark on video projects you will most likely hear the concept of colour temperature which is important to videography. Like all rules when producing a video, knowing colour temperature is an area you should familiarise yourself.

So what is colour temperature? Light sources ranging from a candle to a clear blue sky have their own individual colour which is measured in Kelvin degrees. Sometimes you may hear it referred to as degrees Kelvin, but it has nothing to do with heat.

Similar to Centigrade and Fahrenheit Kelvin is a scale of measurement for measuring temperature. Colour colours such as a blue clear sky will typically have temperatures over 7000K while the colour of a candle flame which is much warmer would be around 1000K. The higher the number of Kelvin the more bluish white the light will appear. As the light decreases warmer colours such as orange and red will appear.

So why is getting your colour temperature right important? Most video cameras will have a white balance color temperature setting. When properly adjusted, the camera will correctly see the colour white as white and then adjusts for all the other colors accordingly. This is important if you want your footage to record skin tones that look accurate. When filming you should try and get your white balance similar to the colour temperature of your lighting.

When purchasing a video light keep an eye on the colour temperatures they are able to reproduce. Some new models allow users to control the colour temperature using a dial. If your lighting does not have a controllable dial, you may be able to place a filter lamp to reduce the colour temperature. Ideally, what you what to do is match the colour temperature of your lighting with the environment lighting.

Although you can do some colour correcting during post production, it’s far easier to do it during production. Interesting results may occur if you shoot a film in lighting conditions that it was not designed for.

Best of luck with your video making from the Video Effect.




  • I took a video production class earlier this year and find most newer model video cameras have the auto adjustment settings when you do white balancing. I like this feature and it makes life a lot easier.

    • Nigel Camp says:

      Hi there, yes a lot of cameras will certainly perform the auto adjustments for you, but in some circumstances its always good to know how to set up things manually. Good luck with your video making!

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